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Each person has their own unique way of falling asleep. Some people enjoy listening to music, while others enjoy listening to white noises and others enjoy listening to a random 12-hour audio clip called “For sleep” on SoundCloud.
Another misinterpreted belief akin to the above is the idea that lullabies are only intended for babies. Lullabies aren't just useful for babies; they're effective sleep therapy for adults too!
Furthermore, sleeping well is important to maintain your health both physically and mentally throughout your life.
Sleeping habits are entirely dependent on your own personal choices as to how deeply you want to fall asleep at night.
What is Music for Sleep?
What do you mean by “sleep”? Does it exist in an active or inactive state? Contrary to popular belief, sleep is not simply a “switching off” state.
In fact, sleep is a highly active state.
Of all the daytime activities of the billions of neurons and their zap of electrical activity with the brain, nighttime activities are 10 times more active!
They're known as brainwave interactions. Our brain waves changes according to our emotional states and the types of activities we engage in.
Music therapies involve using these soothing sound waveforms such as lullabies and natural sounds to create an optimal environment for the stressed out or insomnia mind to relax faster and fall asleep.
Music therapy involves using music to connect people, acts, or feelings with calming music to help them relax.
Listening to specially designed soundtracks for sleep helps your brain relax.
It also helps alleviate the psychological and physical stresses that add to your poor circadian rhythms and sleep patterns.
Just as we awaken from sleep when a sound is made, sleep music creates rhythmic sounds to block out disturbing noises and help us fall back into deep, restful sleep.
How Does Music for Sleep Work?
There are two stages of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM (non-rapid eye movement).
While the first stage of sleep consists of the final stage of sleep when we dream and retrieve our memories from them upon waking up, the second stage of sleep is devoid of dreaming and any depth of sleep at all.
It is further divided into five stages. They include:
Stage 1 (Non-REM 1)
Light/drowsy sleep where you may experience eye rolling and muscle twitching.
This stage lasts for 10 min (5% of total sleep time), and is also dreamless. However, hypnagogic (mini-waking up) jerks are often seen too.
During sleep, the unsynchronized and fast waves known as theta and beta change into synchronized, slow waves known as alpha and delta.
At this stage, we're transitioning from our conscious mind to our subconscious mind.
Stage II (Non-REM 2)
During stage two of non-REM sleep, the eyes stop rolling while the brainwaves and body become slower and less active. Conscious awareness of the outside world fades away.
While theta waves establish its specific brain and neuron interactions, sleep spindles (Short-30 seconds and sudden jerks or outbursts called sigma waves) and K-complexes (Short negative peak to slower positive peak to a negative peak, which lasts for 1-2 minutes).
This comprises between 40% and 60% of all adults' total sleeping time.
Stage III (Non-REM 3) & Stage IV (Non-REM 4)
Both phases are almost identical in their aspects, so they're often treated as one sleep stage.
Also called deep sleep or slow-wave sleep. It’s primarily because of the slower delta brainwave activity during this type of sleep that makes it hard to wake up;
These stages occur during the first 20% of the total sleeping time, these stages are involved in sleepwalking, sleeptalking or somniloquies, and nightmares.
Stage V or REM sleep
Breathing slows down and muscles become temporarily paralyzed. Eyes begin to twitch or jump to either side
Because this is the core stage of our sleep cycle, the mind attempts to maintain it at its most peaceful state by preventing any disruptions to it.
For example, if someone has an irresistible desire to pee during REM sleep, their brain may incorporate this into their dreams, and they end up wetting the bed.
Electroencephalography (EEG), electrooculography (EOG), and electromyography (EMG) are used to monitor brain wave patterns.
The brain wave patterns sent from your neurons' electrical impulses can be captured by an electroencephalograph to measure total activity in your brain. An electrooculography records muscle tone and an electromyograph observe eye movements.
Listening to music affects our emotions and perceptions, which then change our brain wave patterns.
While Music has been used for centuries to entertain people, there is also specific music that triggers deep sleep, theta sleep, dreaming, meditating, and concentrating in someone as music therapy.
Following is How the Music for Sleep Works to Affect and Heal the Sleeping Disorders of the Mind and Body:
Relaxation for the Body
When soothing musical waves intersect with brain waves, the body relaxes.
It can be hard for people who have erratic circadian rhythms to relax their body’s during sleeping.
Faster (or louder) tracks or sounds can alert your mind, but slower relaxing tunes can soothe you right away.
Sleep music helps calm the body by echoing the heartbeat rhythm to soothe the tense muscles of our restless physique.
This is how music helps us achieve a completely relaxed physical condition or partial meditative state.
Relaxation for the Mind
As we drift into sleep, our active minds and their restless thoughts gradually fade away as abstractions.
When mind relaxation happens, the conscious part of our minds shuts down, transitioning into theta wave activity or slower brain rhythms. It then enters the chaos of the subconscious.
A relaxed mind can open up the subconscious mind. Therefore, music for sleeping creates optimal mindfulness, when one is asleep.
Using soundtracks like the binaural beat and white noises, the mind is relaxed so that it enters into meditative or mindful states even if silence is used as the primary trigger to enter into a meditative state.
This is usually achieved by creating rhythms or beats that induce slow waves that overlap and superimpose brain waves to produce an altered state of consciousness, known as meditation.
Cut Out Disturbing Background Noises
A literal blanket to eliminate all sounds that could wake up the sleeper dramatically while in sleep stages 1, 2, or 3&4, sleep soundtracks are an elixir to solve this problem.
Such white noises and ambient sounds can be used to drown out the background noises and external disruptions so that the sleeper doesn't wake up during his/her slumber.
If you have an unpleasant noise or environment, a binaural beat or any continuous stream of sound can help you to maintain your deep sleep.
Creates A Healthy Sleeping Cycle
Another important benefit of music as an aid to sleep is how it becomes a necessary or habitual part of one’s life.
If you faithfully follow a particular sleep course for six to eight weeks, your body’s natural circadian rhythms will begin to return to their normal state, creating a healthy sleep cycle.
It also prevents many fatal diseases like sleep apnea and Narcolepsy.
Sleep Music For Babies
Most people believe in the magic of lullaby music or sleep music when it comes to babies.
It's true that babies don't need any vocals when they're sleeping, but if there are some soothing scats, it doesn't hinder the effect.
Science says that most parents believe that listening to music helps their baby fall asleep faster which helps them further their emotional and psychological development during the first year.
Baby sleep music is usually an adequate combination of white noise and soothing natural sounds.
You can use this music for the relaxation of your baby whenever you want because these soothing sounds also help to improve your baby’s intelligence.
Some parents ensure total silence during their babies' naps, whereas others believe in systematically calming down and soothing their babies into a deep slumber.
However, all parents believe that listening to lullabies helps their babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
In fact, Music therapy has been specifically designed for babies to help them gain weight.
Classical (Mozart) musical therapy, white noise, Brahms, and instrumental long-hour songs are the best types of baby musical therapies.
Sleep Music For Everyone
Soft melodies (and, high melodies-avoid these) like Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, Serenade No. 10 by Mozart, Canon by Pachelbel, Thais by Massenet, Meditation by Jules Massenet, Suite No. 3 in D major by Johann Bach, and Piano Quintet by Franz Schubert.
An instrumental track sans any persistent type of beats like that of Carbon Based Lifeforms (World of Sleepers, John Foxx (Cathedral Oceans), John Hopkins (Opalescent), Diatonis (Ambient Life), Royskopp (Melody AM) and Steve Roach (Structures from Silence)
Two different frequencies of beats are simultaneously played into both ears using headphones to produce an auditory illusion. Examples include Delta Sleep Waves (creating an auditory stimulus with frequencies of 100 Hz through one ear, and 104 Hz through another), which create a 3rd brain wave of 4Hz/Delta.
Rock music with fewer beats, but with an emphasis on melodies and relaxing vocals; Examples include Flunk (for sleepyheads only), Zero 7 (the garden), Royksopp(Melody. A.M), and The Orbs (Oblivion)
Sounds of Nature
Natural sounds include things like rain, chirping bird calls, and ocean waves, which are any steady stretches of uninterrupted sound.
It is a constant noise with different frequencies and similar intensities like that of a radio searching for frequency, ceiling fan blades, grain on the telephone when malfunctioned, and random noises with a spectral density of flat energy.
Relaxation Melody Apps
There are many apps available that offer pre-set audio rifts of white noise, ambient, and natural soundtracks in Theta waves and Binaural Beats as sleeping music.
Apart from the above mentioned, there are many world tunes, contemporary classics, and specific, meditative chants that are especially, created to relax people and help them fall asleep.
If you cannot locate any specific music track when you want to fall asleep, here is a quick mantra: turn on your ceiling fan and go to bed!
Using white noises such as these to fall asleep is an old technique and most of us even make it a routine, involuntarily, and improve our circadian rhythms.
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